I was sad to learn of the recent death of Graham Stark. I had thought that he provided some of the voices for the early episdodes of The Goon Show but apparently that was for just one ocassion! However he was a good friend of Peter Sellar’s as well as working with the great man (check him out on google) and he attended ‘The Goon Show Preservation Society’ events. I was giving a talk at the 50th anniversary of the Telegoons just a few weeks ago, but by then sadly he was too poorly to attend
I found myself talking about my first encounter with the lovely man. He was top of the bill at Eastbourne Hippodrome. I was just 16 and, with a partner, I was doing a marionette cabaret in the show. As I was so young my mother had insisted I stay with an ancient aunt in Eastbourne for the season.
The very first week I got trapped in the creaky old lift in auntie’s block of flats all night, until the milkman rescued me in the morning. Auntie was not amused and accused me of ‘being no better than I should be’ and showed me the door!
On telling my fellow artists the sorry tale, Graham Stark suggested I dye my hair blonde and to hell with Auntie’s dire predictions. A gullible teenager, I emerged from the hairdresser next day a peroxide blonde.
When my mother saw it, she insisted I dye it back to my original colour at which point it turned bright green! I blame any fall from grace on Graham Stark! However for me it was all a truly memorable summer season
I met him again as a young mother. I was out of show business at the time, playing with my young sons on the beach, I’ve forgotten at which resort. He came wandering by, obviously playing a summer season and recognised me (despite no longer being blonde). He stopped by and had a chat and talked to the children.
At a previous a ‘Telegoon’ event (I was known as ‘The Telegoon Girl’) I started talking to him about the early Hippodrome experience and the guy with the unicycle act getting engaged to one of the dancers. He nodded and I thought he was just being polite but no, he laughed and not only remembered details of the party but the names of both of them, which I had long forgotten. One of the ‘old school’ of entertainers. Old fashioned I know but in my mother’s day known as ‘a real gent’. Love to his family and friends Annx